Common Carp Management Options

The following excerpt is a summary document provided by Deuchler Environmental (DEI) fish biologist Leonard Dane, originally hosted by the Lake County Health Department (LCHD), co-sponsored by the Illinois Lakes Management Association (ILMA) on April 13th, 2018.  The original presentation slides are provided in the Media area of the Blog.  All materials are the rights of DEI and should not be reproduced without permission.

Lakes Forum:  Carp Removal and Fish Habitat Summary

Common Carp are an exotic, nuisance species that is present in many of Illinois Lakes. The most productive and economical way for the removal of Common Carp is by electrofishing.  This method is species selective and can cover the entire area of the lake. It is best to do the removal during the spawning season or during a lake draw down when the fish are congregated in the shallows. Removal of Common Carp using electrofishing will be required over multiple years. In a removal project that has been conducted since 2015, there has been over 5400 pounds of Common Carp removed over three years.  Each year there has been a decrease in the catch per unit effort which indicates a decrease in Common Carp in the lake. Once the Common Carp abundance is at a manageable level, you should develop habitat for the desirable fish species in your lake.

This leads us into the importance and types of fish habitat. Fish habitat is the waters and substrate necessary for fish spawning, feeding, and growth. This includes all physical and chemical factors necessary for all life stages.  Fish habitat is required to provide an area of protection for small fish, an area for predator to hide to ambush prey, and area for food organisms to colonize and grow. Fish habitat is being eliminated by development within the watershed, increased run-off, management of aquatic plants, removing of woody habitat, shoreline development, and sedimentation.

There are various types of natural fish habitat. These include undercut banks, rootwads, boulders, course woody habitat (logs and trees), aquatic plants, deep water areas, overhanging vegetation, as well as shallow areas. However, often times there is a need to increase the amount of habitat available for the fish. The common artificial fish habitat include fish cribs, Christmas trees, fallen trees, and plastic structures.  Fish cribs can be made of various materials and can last over 20 years. They are generally 5-6 feet tall and should be placed in 10-15 feet of water.  Christmas trees are easily collected during the months of December and January. They can be weighted on the bottom by placing them in a bucket and adding concrete. These too should be placed in 10 -15 feet of water.   Tree falls and fish sticks are full size trees put in the littoral zone and should be placed in areas where they won’t be a navigational hazard.  There are many configurations for the use of plastic for fish habitat. For more information on the artificial fish habitat structures please contact me. In general, all the habitat should be placed in deep enough water to be fully submerged at all times.  Also, if it is placed in an area where boating will occur, be sure it is deep enough to not become a navigational hazard. It is also important to have the structures weighted and/or secured so they remain in place over the life of the structure.

 

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Big Weeks in Water Resources Upon Us

March is a big month for water resources related conferences in Illinois.  Starting next week with the Illinois Floodplain Managers Annual Conference – IAFSM, highlighted next week by the Illinois Lakes Management Association (ILMA) Annual Conference, and the Fox River Summit.  These conferences will provide some great overlapping content as well as subject specific information unique to each conference.

The Illinois Association of Floodplain and Stormwater Managers (IAFSM) Annual Conference will be hosted once again in Tinley Park, IL (http://www.illinoisfloods.org/18_conference.html).  This conference will feature several presentations related to flooding issues such as protection, regulation, prevention, and also provides aspiring professionals the opportunity to take the nationally recognized Floodplain Manager’s Certification Exam.  Additional presentations may also revolve around topical content such as general stormwater and regulation, green infrastructure projects, and restoration.  The conference runs March 14-15th at the Tinley Park Convention Center.

The Fox River Summit will be held in Burlington, WI on March 23rd (https://www.southeastfoxriver.org/river-breakdown).  The summit is an excellent one-day endeavor for all things related to the Fox River starting in southern Wisconsin down through northern Illinois prior to its confluence with the Illinois River.  The program always includes a variety of speakers from both states with the common theme of collaboration for the betterment of the entire watershed.

The highlight of course is the Illinois Lakes Management Association (ILMA) annual conference held this year in Bloomington (https://ilma-lakes.org/conference).  The conference runs from the 22nd-24th with the workshop encompassing the final day of the conference.  The conference will once again feature the hospitality suite and a myriad of excellent sessions devoted to lakes water quality, biology, protection, and restoration.  The conference is also one of Illinois’s premiere watershed conferences as well.  As the IllinoisLakes Blog is directly sponsored by ILMA, the following information was sent out to membership today by Membership Secretary Karen Clementi as current announcements:

As we get closer to the upcoming conference on March 22-24, we have the following fun announcements to share:

  • We are still soliciting raffle items for our fantastically popular raffle.  Field books, homemade items, adult beverages, white elephant gifts from Christmas, we take it all.  Please contact Leonard Dane at ldane@deuchler.com to donate any goodies.
  • Got a photo for our photo contest?  Win $50 and the MAJOR AWARD of next year’s conference program cover.
  • We will be having trivia and hospitality at the hotel for Thursday night’s entertainment.  Those staying both on and off-site are definitely encouraged to attend.
  • Spaces are still available in the Saturday workshop on Midwestern Waterfowl and Shorebirds by the Audubon Society of Illinois. With both a class portion and field trip, it is sure to be both educational and enjoyable.

Karen Clementi

ILMA Membership Secretary

Please enjoy a month of valuable water resources conferences!

~p0sted by Admin

Welcome to 2018!

As we come into the New Year it never hurts to get an update on this year’s Illinois Lakes Management Association (ILMA) annual conference.  Some additional details can be found here:

https://ilma-lakes.org/conference

The conference runs from March 22-24 and our Keynote Speaker has been secured from the Alliance for the Great Lakes.  We have also secured several other speakers to engage our audience on a number of topics including fish, birding, funding strategies, dredging, invasive species, cultivating homeowner’s associations, etc.

The location will be Bloomington, as this year represents our downstate cycle.  More details to come.

~p0sted by Admin

The Paradigm of a Natural Environment

Four weeks ago the Illinois Lakes Management Association (ILMA) hosted a POD in Palatine focused on common reed, aka Phragmites Australis, one of the most successful invasives to impact our lakes, streams, and wetlands in recent memory.  One of the points commonly made by the presenter is how we have basically created the perfect environment for this species to proliferate.*  This serves a a good lead into discussing how we have molded the urban environment to our will.  The result appears to be a more desirable and livable environment full of tolerable nuisances to mankind while creating a mixed bag of consequential side effects to the natural ecology of the landscape and its native inhabitants.

*Note: This presentation is now available in the Media Center of this Blog.

We often hear our folks talk about the good old days.  Many of us can probably remember our grandparents telling us about the days before that.  Those who have been fortunate can probably remember a few walks down memory lane with great grandparents.  Someday you will tell your children and perhaps grandchildren the same cyclic diatribe, and on and on.  To people “the good ole days” are something very particular.  Cheap gas, less restriction…less distraction perhaps.  Less running around and perhaps a less hurried world.

What if our waters could remember “the good ole days”?  Our waters (lakes, streams, creeks, tributaries, etc) are a reflection of our watershed landscapes.  What if they could realize a time prior to man’s intervention, or a time when we can properly work with nature instead of always against it.  We’ve come a long way in understanding the world and the environment we live in, yet the trek back towards environmental solvency is long and difficult.  The science is getting better but the willpower to enable science to do what is necessary is the harder part of the math.

Along this pathway we also run into an issue of public perception.  Everyone has a built-in perception of what human domain looks like.  This includes our neighborhoods, villages, shopping centers, and transportation corridors.  What’s generally clear is that it is very rarely in step with the natural environment.  We have devastated our shorelines with seawall and piers to access our lakes.  We have bent and channelized our streams and creeks to recover property while filling the overbank floodplains.  Our wetlands are primarily gone.  No first generation forests exist anymore.  Second generation forests are a rarity.  The original inhabitants are…somewhere else.

Our ancestors talk about the clean waters and big fish but they were the first to encroach upon nature and the bill has come due generations later.  It will continue to do so for generations to come if we don’t start to right the ship in a cohesive manner.  Our children inherit our misgivings while we have gone about our daily lives expecting agencies such as EPA, DNR, USACE, and our local governing stormwater agencies and municipalities to do the heavy lifting for us.  The policies needed are still only scratching the surface.

Yet the environment is resilient.  Regardless of the engineering effort put into action to reverse rivers, dry out wetlands, tile the water table, and bridge our creeks.  We can continue to fight it or embrace it.  Our understanding of the green technology that can be used to reduce our impervious impact on the landscape has greatly increased, but it is not standard practice and seemingly impractical to apply under many normal development ordinances and review processes which have been established to encourage legacy practices.

https://i1.wp.com/chesapeakestormwater.net/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/swale_checkdam.jpg

Non-sewered parking lot runoff flows over grass providing a means for urban sediments to deposit over the landscape instead of into the sewer.

If we can agree that the state of our water resources are a reflection of the watershed that drains to them, then we should be able to draw the conclusion that we need to reconsider how we treat the land on which we dwell and that there are consequences from our current land use practices.  Treating runoff like an unwanted resource in one location only to expect it to be in pristine condition when it reaches its final destination is unrealistic.  In an unaltered environment the above scenario may have been possible; however at one time the only impervious surfaces on the earth were exposed stone, water, and ice.

Standard engineering practice is to efficiently route water away through a conduit, getting it away from us as quickly as possible to the nearest creek, lake or pond.  The method in which the water reaches its destination is by no means anything like it originally functioned, heated from the asphalt and escorted like a shotgun blast several times faster.  Our stormwater ponds are a poor reflection of anything natural, often mowed turn grass down to the waters edge.  An environment we created to incubate misquitos which we will complain about incessantly even though we cannot live with the “weedy look” which helps harbor the natural predators needed to curb the nuisance species.  We’ve harbored the perfect environment for many of these invasive species by bringing them to locations without predation that we cannot rid ourselves of them.

So where does this leave us?  Institutional inability to implement science into policy it would seem, but unlike global warming, there is little debate to the science.  After all everything is driven by erosion, or the process of the movement of sediment from one place to another.  This process is 100% a natural condition.  The only difference is the acceleration of the impact due to human intervention.

It’s probably a bit atypical for the common citizen to ask “Why must roads be impervious?”  Yet it may not be atypical for the common citizen lake property owner to ask the question “Why is there so much algae in the lake?”  at first the two seem worlds apart but in really they interconnected through the dynamics of the watershed.  After all the road system helps connect the great conduits of our stormwater delivery system, of which the final chapter is written in out lakes and streams.

boy_scout_drain_stencil_16th_wash__9_24_11

The sign does not lie.  The fish await our runoff.

So how does this story end?  Out of sight out of mind will not cut it, but until stormwater regulations make water quality a focus, improvements to water quality will remain a challenge.  How do our waters become “impaired”?  How did we get here?  What’s being done about it?  Discussion of impairments can be found on an earlier blog post from August 2016 and subsequent presentation.

There will be a dedicated session in this year’s Annual ILMA Conference regarding the impact of storwmater and runoff on our lakes.  Cleaning up our storwmater, especially in our urban districts is essential to helping solve impairment issues.  Much of the technology and scientific principles are in place to make for a more naturalized urban environment.  It all comes down to people’s willingness to make the changes in their everyday lives.  These changes come down to cosmetic changes, not physical changes.  Using natural overland drainage patterns instead of storm sewer.  Making parking lots porous instead of solid impervious concrete or asphalt.  Minimizing thermal pollution by harvesting rainwater instead of sending it to small, shallow stormwater facilities or directly to our creeks.

The paradigm of a natural environment does not insinuate and alteration on modern living.  In fact it is quite the opposite.  Implementing green technology, while retro in concept has been forgotten because as consumers we have been shown to crave man made revisions to the landscape.  Our carbon footprint cumulatively within the watershed amounts to a large amount of large pulse of unwanted constituents that simply were not present 200+ years ago.

“Nature did it right” is an easy way to look at things.  Our lakes, streams, and surrounding watersheds form from thousands of years of pre-human intervention and that is the course correction we need in order to turn back the clock to the good ole days for our lakes and streams.

Watershed Spotlight: 9 Lakes Watershed (Lake & McHenry Co., IL)

Welcome to our first watershed spotlight Blog post!  I would first like to do a shout out to the recently retired Patty Werner of the Lake County Stormwater Management Commission (LCSMC).  Her enduring watershed work in Lake County, IL has had a lasting impression far beyond the county borders and has greatly influenced many of us to work harder will limited resources and really push to improve the stakeholder process.  The IllinoisLakes Blog wishes her the best in her retirement.

With the IllinoisLakes Blog being an outreach component tool of the Illinois Lakes Management Association (ILMA), there will always be a focus on lakes directly; however our lakes our driven by the landscape processes within the watershed which is also a key concern of ILMA.  What happens in the lakes of Illinois and any other lake on the face of our planet is heavily driven by what is happening in the watershed.  Some of these things are taking place right at the shoreline and some miles away.  The end result is that the lake is the basket that catches it all, holds it or modifies it, and then sends it downstream.

While a brief introduction to the watershed concept may be in order here, it is not the sole directive of this blog post and for clarity we may need to do a follow up post to close that loophole.  In the meantime we suggest a 90 second primer here.  Simple youtube video distilling the concept.  We ultimately see the watershed byproducts in our lakes and managing the end result in the lake, so why not control the source?  More on that later.

On to the 9 Lakes Watershed, a culmination of the 9 Lakes Watershed Plan.  The watershed group originally sprung from the formation of the 4 Lakes Initiative, a meeting of local lake groups forming to discuss watershed approaches which have significant impacts on in-lake processes.  The group had been meeting for nearly two years, when a chance meeting with representatives of the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) at a presentation provided to the Fox River Ecosystem Partnership (FREP), met and discussed a partnership to include the totality of 9 lakes bordering on common watersheds in western Lake/eastern McHenry County.  We apologize for the numerous acronyms and links above.

As the name suggests, the ground-floor stakeholder group consists of 9 lakes (Lake Fairview, Slocum Lake, Bangs Lake, Lake Napa Suwe, Tower Lakes, Lake Barrington, Timber Lake, Island Lake, and Woodland Lake).  The planning process also includes all the interconnected waterways such as creeks and streams and the three outlets to the Fox River.  Each of these groups has faced unique challenges in maintaining their perspective lakes, none necessarily more important than the other.  The planning group also includes all of the perspective communities and agencies that have a collective geographic presence within the watershed.  Villages include Island Lake, Wauconda, Port Barrington, Volo, Hawthorn Woods, Lake Barrington, Tower Lakes, and Unincorporated portions of Lake and McHenry Counties, IL.

The two year extended planning process took place from 2012 through 2014 including a series of formal presentations, facility and lake tours, stakeholder collaboration to identify potential in-lake and watershed landscape issues to be indoctrinated within the 9 Lakes Watershed-Based Plan.  Identifying projects within the watershed plan prioritizes them for EPA funding through the Agency’s 319 Program.  The identified projects can all be seen on the map provided on the 4 Lakes Initiative homepage (previously linked).  The projects range from topics such as shoreline restoration, streambank stabilization, landscape improvements, green infrastructure, and stormwater retrofits to name a few.

The plan also does a token job at identifying the sources of in-lake pollution, be it internal cycling of materials or landscape driven sources.  For example, several of the lakes within the planning area have identified phosphorus as a significant pollutant source (often referred to as “impairment”) within the 9 Lakes Watershed-Based Plan.  Now is the problem already in the lake and needs to be addressed in the lake or is it a landscape based issue that needs to be addressed from a runoff standpoint?  Is it unwise to spend money on in-lake improvements for phosphorus abatement if the source is coming from outside the lake.  These are important factors when the solutions are not cheap.  Phosphorus is just one example of several potential impairments listed within the plan.

The plan also makes an attempt to prioritize these objectives.  Not every project benefits the watershed or inherent downstream water resources in the same way.  Projects most likely to get funded include those which identify multiple partners and entities that will benefit from a successful outcome.  This includes identifying how those partners will continue to manage and maintain the outcome of the project in the future to make sure there is a lasting benefit.

What types of projects were identified in the plans?  Section 3.2 of the plan provides a breakdown of projects by both water body and municipal entity, making it easier to identify potential partners in pursuing a grant based project.  While it can be a great adventure to pursue a grant on your own, it may be worth it to contact someone with experience to make the process a little more streamlined and move the process along, including the documentation process, meeting the timelines and helping identify potential partners from the start.

There are numerous restoration based projects identified within the plan directly tied to shorelines and streambanks.  While their are other in-lake projects identified, it may become increasingly difficult smaller projects without being able to quantify the aggregate benefit.

Slocum Lake is one lake previously discussed within the IllinoisLakes Blog.  We hope to feature some of the other lakes in the near future.  No one lake is perfect, although some exhibit many more water quality related issues than others.  Bangs Lake is the only lake that provides public access.  Some of the lakes may be accessible if you are willing to make the appropriate contacts.

The overarching them to the watershed plan is essentially outreach & education.  Providing citizens and stakeholders and opportunity to voice their opinion (good & bad) and provide educational components in an unimposing and digestible environment.  Watershed planning is somewhat universally similar in the methodology employed to complete each individual plan however the water bodies differ and therefore the road map created in each plan is different.  The template that the road map is created from has been set forth by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and is somewhat specific to Illinois, although the format is slowly becoming indoctrinated nationally.

The 9 Lakes Watershed-Based Plan is unique in several ways.  If you compare it to the bulk of many other watershed plans in Lake County or Northeast Illinois, their is a specific focus on lakes, whereas this is typically a stream or creek in-focus.  Additionally there are 3 specific outfall points into the Fox River from each of 3 connected lake to lake systems.  Timber Lake, Tower Lakes, and Lake Barrington represent one system.  Bangs Lake and Slocum Lake represent yet another system, and yet Lake Napa Suwe and Island Lake represent another independent system.  The other remaining lakes are small and interspersed among those three systems.

Specific to a plan of this nature, the watersheds are acknowledged as a whole, but also as independent water bodies (lakes) that have identified improvement projects built into the plan as well.  We recommend that if you have never been part of the process or seen a planning document of this nature, start with the Executive Summary and introduction to get a grasp of the bigger picture before diving in.  We hope to have an introductory Blog Post regarding Watershed Planning in general soon.

~p0sted by Admin 

Free ILMA POD offered on Manual Weed Removal

The Illinois Lakes Management Association (ILMA) will host another one of their FREE Point of Discussion (POD) sessions on Wednesday June 28th, from 6:30 – 7:30 at Pebble Beach Park on Gages Lake, 33399 N Sears Blvd, in Grayslake (Wildwood).  The focus of the POD will be manual weed removal.  Post POD discussion and refreshments will be available at Bake’s Pub & Grill nearby.  

More information to follow.

Turbid Illinois Launches Season 3

The week of May 22nd marks the official start of field data collection for Turbid Illinois Season 3.  Turbid Illinois is an Illinois Lakes Management Association (ILMA) sponsored program which encourages self-exploration of our waters and the science that drives our water quality conditions.  The program is also partly supported through the Tower lakes Drain Partnership, which provided the initial sample sites.  This is as stands a completely 100% volunteer driven process.  Below is a few commonly asked questions about Turbid Illinois.

What is Turbid Illinois?

Turbid Illinois (TI) is a volunteer, stakeholder driven, citizen science initiative based off of similar citizen-based groups but with a much narrower focus.  Instead of periodic testing needing a lump sum time investment, the protocol attempts to minimize the time investment to achieve data replication and statistically viable sets of data points.  This allows the data to be used for trend and baseline analysis over a much shorter period of time.

How might this be important to me?

The idea surrounding this project is the simplified concept of “system in vs system out”.  Looking at water clarity at two geographically different points along a water body.  The original concept around TI was investigating daily baseline flow into and out of lakes and reservoirs to determine if the water body was serving to capture material or deliver downstream as a source.  Due to stakeholder interest we have included numerous stream or creek sample points throughout the watershed.  When we see dirty water we may be able to define it as a “load”.  Defining a baseline load will better determine when pulses or heavier watershed loads are affecting our lake and stream systems.  What are the possible reasons?

What equipment do I need?  Is it expensive?

One major goal of this project is to try and put some science in everyone’s hands without applying a price tag that inhibits that very concept.  You should have the following materials at your disposal every time you enter the field to pull samples.

  • 1 water bottle per sample site.  General drinking water bottle will work.
  • Device for measuring depth of water from water surface to water body bed.  I use a folding tape.
  • flashlight or suitable device if you sample late or very early morning.
  • boots if you plan on being in the water, although we recommend staying out of the water if possible
  • Bug spray is sometimes beneficial depending on how bad the spot is

While a few participants have taken it upon themselves to acquire their own means to process turbidity samples we are more than happy to process them for you.  Upon field collection store in a cold place or freeze and we will arrange a pick up for final processing.  If you process your own the data is shared.

I am just grabbing water?  Seems simple enough, is it?

Yes and no.  Physically speaking and in concept the process is very easy, however it is important to be consistent to ensure uniformity of samples.  Samples should strive to be taken at or as near as possible to the same location.  The collection process should be taken in a matter than best represents a typical sample is taken time and time again.  This ensures that the data holds value.  Should you chose to enter the water to sample you must do your best to ensure stream or lake bed materials do not enter your sample.  Once you have established a system of consistent collection, the process is extremely simple and your field time at each site will likely only be a few minutes.

What do we do after sample collection?

Coordinate with program director who you are already in contact with to coordinate pickup for turbidity analysis.  Typically samples should be stored as frozen unless the transfer is same day.  Even if the turnover time is short the sample should be refrigerated to minimize the decomposition of organic material which may slightly skew the final number.  Along these lines, anticipate a rotation of bottles if necessary to allow time for the processing to return bottles to you.

Where should I sample?

This is up to you!  Just a few things to consider.  You should never go onto private property without sufficient permission(s).  In this regard it is sometimes best to work within known public properties such as Village owned parcels or parks.  Avoid sampling areas near pipes, heavily eroded banks, very fast moving water, or areas that are unsafe to complete the sample process.

What happens to the data?

Right now the information is being built into a database repository with the hopes it will be useful for future purposes.  Essentially trend analysis of base water quality in the water bodies sampled.  TI strives to produce an annual document debriefing any significant findings.  Year 1 document is located here:

https://sites.google.com/site/4lakesinitiative/resource-center

Look for Turbid IL Master document.  Year 2 should be out soon.

If you have any additional questions, feel free to contact current program lead, Brian Valleskey at:

cruiserx43@gmail.com

or any standing IMLA officers or directors.  The list can be located at:

https://www.ilma-lakes.org/officers

 

 

Let’s Talk about Dams Part 1

Fresh off a recent presentation to the Spring Creek/ Flint Creek Watershed Partnership, I thought it might be a good time to post to the Illinois Lakes Blog regarding the subject.  Regardless if you are for or against them there is no doubt that dams are another set of aging infrastructure within the United States and there is little or no money directly available to remove or repair (more specifically public structures), leaving the unenviable “wait and see” circumstance.  This is Part 1 of a 2-part posting.

The oldest “registered”dam in the State of IL is the Fordham Dam in Rockford, on the Rock River listed as completed in 1852, although there are several on the Fox that are believed to be older with no official dates to confer.  The largest dam in the U.S. is the Oroville Dam which was the center of attention earlier this year when 180,000 people were evacuated downstream of the dam due to the potential threat of dam breach in February:  http://www.mercurynews.com/2017/05/18/oroville-dam-timeline-100-days-of-drama/.  There are an estimated 75,000 dams impounding 600,000 miles of river or about 17% of rivers in the nation.  7% of the nations total energy budget is still driven by hydroelectric power.

What the above total does not account for are the lesser dams which may not even appear as a dam to the unknowing eye.  In the State of Illinois along, estimates range in number of some 5,000  to 10,000 dams which fit this criteria.  The numbers range because the vast majority of dams remain unregistered.  Dams vary greatly in function and size, from impounding of reservoirs for stormwater management to impounding a lake for the purpose of hydroelectric power generation.

The State of Illinois Dam Safety Program officially began in 1980 as Public Act 91-1062.  This was briefly amended in 1983 and has remained largely intact as such to this day.  The program essentially classifies dams based on the perception of risk and potential for downstream damage, property loss, and loss of life.  This allows for a means to require individuals, corporations, governmental agencies, etc to inspect and maintain their dams.  The full Illinois Dam Safety Program can be viewed in greater detail here:  https://www.dnr.illinois.gov/WaterResources/Pages/DamSafetyProgram.aspx.

To keep this blog article somewhat relevant to lakes it may be best to keep the discussion centered around the impoundment of lakes and streams.  Within this context, a general  understanding of the basic safety guidelines and the possible environmental impacts of run of the river dams is useful.  Dams like anything else require maintenance.  Unlike infrastructure like roads and sanitary sewer they are unfortunately an afterthought to owners without the prodding of regulatory agencies.  The problem is that to many dam owners, the risk of eventual failure and downstream impact is minor in comparison to the economic impact of recurring maintenance.

To this end all registered dams must undergo a schedule of recurring inspection that is based on the assessed risk associated with the dam failure impact.  This is not necessarily unique to the state of Illinois.  The inspection must be photo documented and approved to meet the requirements of the state’s inspection protocol.  Any deficiencies are to be documented and slated to an improvement schedule also approved by the state.

While ILMA has been unable to receive a direct answer from the state regarding where the liability rests for a failure on an unregistered dam, insurance companies may opt to have dams inspected to determine rates for HOA’s, lake associations, lake districts, or other agencies who maintain or own them.  There appears to be a fine line between wanting to inspect on your own schedule or giving the state the jurisdiction to set the schedule.  It is quite possible that their are non-registered dams that undergo no inspection at all and also possible that landowners have no idea that a possible structure on their proper may qualify as a dam, and the inherent risk that may be associated with it.

By it’s very definition a dam can have quite a variable meaning.  Based on communication with State of Illinois Dams Division Head Paul Maurer, a dam is basically anything that impounds water, more from an artificial sense (manmade vs natural).  From a consulting standpoint approximately 1/3 of the dams that I have been personally involved with from a repair or inspection standpoint would be classified as a dam and were unregistered.  The owner either inherited the structure or it has always been unregistered and the owner has had no interest in getting it registered.  In the event that the structure should need repair, the registration may take place as part of the permitting process.  The process of registration in itself is not altogether pleasant as the owner must take it upon himself to hire qualified personnel to study and inspect the dam to properly rate and assess the condition.

Part 2 we talk more about the environmental issues surrounding dams.

~p0sted by Admin

Free ILMA Point of Discussion (POD) Offered April 19

The Illinois Lakes Management Association (ILMA) is offering up another free to attend POD session at Port of Blarney in Antioch on April 19th (2017).  Starting at 6pm the POD session will feature Wild Goose Chase staff Vanessa Williams speak on how nuisance birds can impact water quality.  Some ILMA current and past (and perhaps future) Board members will also be on hand.  Join us for a few cold ones after to discuss everything lake and watershed.